PRESIDENT Kibaki yesterday assured Kenyans of full investigations into the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of six people including two Cabinet ministers as a special meeting of the Cabinet and MPs unanimously agreed to postpone the official opening of the refurbished chambers in honour of the victims.
At a joint meeting of the Cabinet and MPs held at the KICC, President Kibaki promised to release the findings of the investigation into the crash that killed six people, among them Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode who died when the police helicopter they were flying in crashed in Kibiku forest, Ngong. "As we embark on thorough investigations on the cause of the crash I appeal to all Kenyans to remain calm. I assure you of full investigations and the Kenyan people will be informed appropriately," Kibaki said.
He eulogised the former Internal Security minister and his assistant as "patriots and committed public servants." "At this moment the best honour we can bestow upon them is rededicate ourselves to maintaining peace and security in our country. The two departed colleagues were steadfast in promoting peace around our country. Let us stay on this path that they always cherished," he said.
During the joint session of the Cabinet and MPs under President Kibaki's chairmanship, Lands minister James Orengo led his colleagues in asking that the ceremony to open the refurbished chambers be postponed to a date after the burial of the six crash victims. The ministers died alongside two pilots and two bodyguards on Sunday morning.
They were heading for a fundraiser in Ojode's Ndhiwa constituency. "We are right now in mourning and there is total concurrence that the official opening of the refurbished chambers comes after the burial," Orengo told the meeting. The new chambers, refurbished at a cost of Sh1 billion was set to be opened today by President Kibaki. However, MPs will go ahead with the speaker's 'Kamukunji' today to find ways of ensuring that two bills that are required for the implementation of the constitution pass when they are brought before the House.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga described the situation as a "terrible day for us" and a "terrible coincidence" in reference to the death of two other ministers Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso same date four years ago. He appealed for unity and calm at this time. "We owe it to Prof Saitoti as MPs to ensure we have a peaceful election. I think that will be a fitting tribute," he told the meeting yesterday and also urged for calm.
Meanwhile, the cabinet has constituted an 11-member government committee to the funeral planning committee of the six crash victims. The committee will be chaired by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and will consist of three cabinet ministers, two assistant ministers, two MPs namely Gideon Konchellah and John Pesa, joint whips Jakoyo Midiwo and Johnstone Muthama and acting head of civil service Francis Kimemia.
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